Charles Phillip Ingalls – Biography
Charles Phillip Ingalls, the real-life inspiration for the beloved “Pa” character in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” series, was born on January 10, 1836, in Cuba, New York. His parents, Lansford and Laura Ingalls, affectionately referred to as “Grandpa” and “Grandma” in Little House in the Big Woods and some of the My First Little House Books, nurtured in him a love for adventure and the pioneer spirit.
On February 1, 1860, Charles married Caroline Lake Quiner in Concord, Wisconsin, and together, they had five children: Mary, Laura, Carrie, Charles Frederick, and Grace. A man with a restless spirit, Charles yearned to explore the West, but always prioritized the education and well-being of his daughters, due to his wife’s influence. Caroline, or “Ma,” insisted that the family settle in areas where the girls could attend school. The Ingalls family’s numerous journeys eventually led them to De Smet, South Dakota, where Charles took on various roles, including Justice of the Peace.
Charles Ingalls passed away in De Smet on June 8, 1902, leaving behind a rich legacy of love, family, and adventure. His memory lives on through the Little House books, where readers can experience his captivating storytelling and heartfelt fiddle music, which brought warmth and joy to the Ingalls family during both hot summer evenings and cold winter nights.
Charles Ingalls is buried in the De Smet Cemetery. Today, many of his cherished possessions, including his treasured fiddle, can be found on display at various historical sites and museums, such as the Mansfield Museum. Immerse yourself in the life and legacy of Charles Phillip Ingalls as you explore the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her extraordinary “Little House” series.